The evolution of the National Black Chamber of Commerce –final part

The evolution of the National Black Chamber of Commerce –final part

Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow | OW Oped | 8/15/2019, 12:49 p.m.

It was just so simple to me. If the “Commander in Chief” wants something done and was giving me the authority to make it happen, then it will be done.  I guess that’s why I ran through the 5-percent goal within 18 months and started marching “North” from that point on. It didn’t take long for the “wake up call” to hit me.  Black businesses prospering is not an expected event nor is it desirable. The white power structure will backlash like “I- 40 going west”.

To Indiana Black business owners, I became a hero. To the political power base (both Republican and Democrat) I became a “pimple” that needed popping.  Years later, I would notice it more and more. The Ron Browns and Alphonso Jacksons would meet hatred and fierce resistance from the powers that be.  To us they were heroes. To the other side they were like “Moses approaching the Pharaoh”.

It was too late for the haters. I caught the vision and it was to achieve economic empowerment through “advocacy” that answers only to its own “constituency”.  I wrestled with it for a few years and after studying Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglas it became clear to me: “If not you than who; if not now then when”.  There was no organization known as a National Black Chamber of Commerce. It was a true blessing when my search showed that the name had never been claimed by anyone.

With a couple of dozen of our close friends and Kay’s kitchen table, we began the work:  From Indianapolis to Washington, DC – look out world here comes the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce ®  Kay DeBow is the co-founder, executive vice president of the Chamber. Website: www.nationalbcc.org  Emails:  halford@nationalbcc.org  kdebow@nationalbcc.org